Jonas Valanciunas and the New Orleans Pelicans (25-16) showed consistency throughout the game as they beat the Washington Wizards (17-24) who are on a three-game setback. They put together a spectacular showing on the court Wednesday night, taking an early lead in the second quarter and continuing consistent 30-point quarters to run away and secure a 132-112 victory.
Both of the teams are missing key players with Brandon Ingram (toe) and Zion Williamson (hamstring) still out for the Pels while Bradly Beal is expected to miss three games after being diagnosed with a low-grade left hamstring.
Valanciunas finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds while CJ McCollum leads all scorers with his 34 points on 12/21 shooting and 6/6 free throws. The Pels easily covered the 1.5-point spread from Louisiana sportsbooks while the total has gone over 228.5.
A Win in DC after a Decade
It was certainly a nostalgic occasion when the New Orleans Pelicans stormed into the nation’s capital on Monday night and ended their nine-game losing streak against the Washington Wizards. It had been quite some time since they last recorded a win in this arena – a whopping 10 years.
A considerable jump from the Hornets days of 2011 where coach Willie Green played an impressive 20 minutes to contribute to the 92-81 victory. His “now team managed” blow away the competition with a 132-112 finish, setting a new season high for points in the process. Truly a remarkable feat to witness after such a long absence from this iconic arena.
The Gentle Giant Shows Up
The New Orleans Pelicans have managed to keep their heads above water during Zion Williamson’s and Brandon Ingram’s respective injuries, boasting an 8-4 record when Williamson is not playing and 6-3 in games where neither are active. The team has had a reliable lifeline in the form of center Jonas Valanciunas, who has taken a leadership role by increasing his performance to 20.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per contest over the last four outings.
In the first period, McCollum carried the Pelicans with 16 points, setting the tone for the team. The Pelicans then turned to Valanciunas in the second quarter as he was able to capitalize on foul trouble plaguing the Wizards’ frontcourt players.
Valanciunas demonstrated his agility and skill by accumulating 14 points in this period, helping the Pelicans go into halftime with a comfortable lead. The Pels never look behind after that and secure their 25th win exactly after 41 games. His consistent production will likely remain essential going forward as Williamson deals with a right hamstring strain and Ingram remains on the sidelines due to a toe contusion.
“It’s always fun to play good and to play winning basketball,” Valanciunas said after the game.
“There’s no doubt about that. We’re missing our two main guys, so everybody’s got to step up and everybody’s got to do some extra stuff to be able to win the game. I think that’s what we all did and that gave us success.”
The New Orleans Pelicans will be looking to continue their success as they visit the league leader, Boston Celtics, who are riding a three-game winning streak, including a 125-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
On the other hand, the Washington Wizards will host the Chicago Bulls and seek to get back in the winning column.
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